An opposition legislator on Tuesday denounced the substitute bill on Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), now packaged as Citizen Service Act, mandating military training for public and private tertiary schools and senior high schools.
“Aside from being another militarist policy, one that will expose the youth to the culture of impunity and corruption, this bill will give families financial burdens even heavier than they are bearing now,” ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro said.
“This so-called ‘Citizen Service’ is nothing but the old ROTC in a new packaging,” she said.
Castro said aside from alleged corruption, hazing, and murders in the military training program course hat led to the abolition of the ROTC in 2001, cadets and their parents also complained of the various expenses brought by the program.
She said the CSA via Basic Citizen Service Training Course (Basic CSTC) and Preparatory Citizen Service Training Course (Preparatory CSTC) in Grades 11 and 12 in public and private tertiary schools and senior high schools, respectively will surely require more expenses attendant to military training.
“The CSTC will cost additional expenses to parents and students. For example, families will have to spend at least P2,000 or P3,000 for the full Type A fatigue uniform per each cadet which includes the coat, pants, garrison belt, cap, and outside belt (P1,000 to P1,300), combat boots (P500 to P600), lanyard (P100), patches (P200), custom-made nameplate, shoulder blades, and even the appropriate haircut (P50 as cheapest) for men or hairpins and hairnet for women, to name a few.
“This doesn’t yet include the other type of uniforms and more expensive items like the sword or saber,” Castro added.
The proposed substitute bill, according to Castro, the CSTC will be administered for at least four semesters over two school years unless otherwise allowed by the Citizen Service Training Board.
In addition to the said CSTC to be held within the semesters, the bill also requires the completion of Summer Citizen Service Training Camp (Summer CSTC) which shall consist of 30 days in two tranches of 15 days a year. “The length of mandatory training, uniform and activities will lead to additional expenses and burdens to the students and parents,” Castro said.
The solon added that the revival of ROTC needs to be seriously considered considering the “No Collection Policy” of whatever nature in public basic and tertiary schools.